Robert Greene has worked in banking for four decades in a variety of senior roles. He is an industry-leading expert on Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the challenges they face. Robert spent much of his distinguished career at NatWest, later RBS. He has been instrumental in BFC Bank's entry into the UK market. Robert manages the relationship teams that support BFC Bank's clients, SMEs and payment service providers (PSPs), in their business development.Â
What attracted you to BFC Bank?
Greene: Banks used to be more trusted; reputations are currently somewhat damaged. BFC Bank sets out to be honest, transparent and trustworthy. It is a totally new bank with no legacy issues. BFC Group has created a bank with core values that we steadfastly stand by; namely care, trust and efficiency. We have all witnessed banks that have not lived up to their promises. What I really respect about BFC Bank is that it truly lives and breathes its values.
BFC Bank takes a long-term view, and incorporates this approach into its business strategy and dealings with clients. BFC Bank is focused on meeting customer needs, rather than selling them something they do not want or understand. Take BFC Bank's approach to international payments, for example. It is a simple, effective and well-priced model. This is what clients want when they make global remittances. Challenger banks such as BFC Bank will have a major role in the UK institutional market going forward. A lot of faith has been lost in the banking system following the global financial crisis. BFC Bank intends to help restore trust in the sector.
Why is being a challenger bank so important for BFC?
Greene: I love the term 'challenger bank' because it inspires a new way of looking at banking. Challenger or online-only banks are going to play a huge role in restoring consumer confidence in the sector. Many of these challengers, including BFC Bank, adopt a progressive approach and are not impeded by legacy technology and systems. It is easier for challengers to adapt to change, whether these are evolutions in consumer habits, innovative technologies, or new regulations. BFC Bank is distinctive in that it only serves the SME and PSP markets, whereas other challengers are focused, more or less, on the retail market.
What will attract SMEs and PSPs to BFC Bank?
Greene: BFC Bank will attract SMEs through its plain and clear corporate banking services, with strong emphasis on international transactions, multi-currency cash management, and UK domestic payments. This suite of products is designed to simplify how overseas payments and FX are managed, and to complement clients' existing bank arrangements. Some SMEs face financial challenges with traditional bank FX charges another cost to stomach. BFC Bank's services are delivered online using a multi-currency account model. This innovative cash management solution appeals to SMEs. Here is an example of transparency; many SMEs do not receive a full breakdown of all fees charged by their service provider, such as FX spreads. This will not be the case at BFC Bank; transaction details are delivered fully and immediately. Our tariff is published online.
A current account allows instant access to real-time balances and transaction information in up to 20 currencies. Accounts can be included in BFC Bank's multi-currency pooling group, subject to approval. Clients can make and receive electronic payments internationally and carry out foreign exchange transactions. Read more >>Read more >>
Many Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and PSPs struggle to understand banking fees and FX charges. The difficulty in identifying the precise nature and breakdown of charges arises when banks are not transparent in how they charge clients and bundle costs. Read more >>Read more >>